Net metering allows you to reduce your monthly electricity costs by generating your own electricity from a renewable energy source.
Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs) generate electricity from renewable energy sources which include wind, water, solar and agricultural biomass. Energy storage systems can be combined with RET generation to form a net metering installation. Energy Storage on its own does not qualify for the net metering program.
If you are interested in participating in Hydro Ottawa’s Net Metering program, we encourage you to contact us at the earliest opportunity to ensure your premise is eligible for net metering.
How is the electricity that I generate from a renewable energy source(s) accounted for on my electricity bill?
The electricity you produce is first used to meet the needs of your home or business. You will receive a non-cash credit for any kilowatt hours you generate and do not use that are transmitted back to the electricity grid. This credit will appear on your electricity bill as a line item noted as ‘Generation Credit Balance’. This credit cannot be redeemed for cash or as payment for other services.
The dollar value of the kilowatt hours (kWhs) that you generate in a billing period is based on variable kWh rates applicable at the time of generation. The variable kWh rates are also dependent on the account classification.
This dollar value becomes a credit that is applied towards variable kWh and kW charges calculated on your bill. This credit cannot be applied towards the fixed charges, taxes, or other charges that are not kWh or kW based. As a net metered customer you will continue to be billed for any electricity you use from the electricity grid, as well as for all fixed charges and taxes.
As a Regulated Price Plan (RPP) net metering customer, which includes most residential and business customers with a demand of less than 50 KW, you will be switched from Time-of-Use (TOU) rates to tiered rates for both kWhs generated and used from the grid. Information on tiered rates is available on the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) website under electricity rates.
Refer to Ontario Regulation 541 (O.Reg. 541) section 8 for more information.
What do I have to do to become a Hydro Ottawa net metering customer?
We try and make it easy and quick to become a net metering customer. When you apply, we first check to make sure there is electricity distribution capacity to connect a RET in your area. Distribution capacity is required in order to allow you to feed the electricity you generate back into the grid.
Next, your standard meter will need to be replaced with a bi-directional meter which does two things. First, a bi-directional meter allows Hydro Ottawa to measure how much electricity was delivered to your home or business from the electricity grid. It also measures how much electricity was fed back into the electricity grid as a result of excess generation that wasn’t needed to power your home or business. This meter does not measure the amount of generation your RET produced. If you need to know how much your RET generated, you will need to add a separate meter.
Hydro Ottawa will provide you with the estimated cost (Customer Layout quote) to replace your current meter with a bi-directional meter and for any other work required to safely connect your RET to the electricity grid. If you wish to proceed with the connection, you will need to provide payment to Hydro Ottawa for the services outlined in the Customer Layout quote and then proceed with the next steps as outlined in your quote.
Your ‘service entrance’ may also need to be upgraded if it doesn’t pass the electrical safety and servicing standards specified in our Conditions of Service under section 2.1.4.
What if I have a contract with an electricity retailer?
If you have a contract with a licensed electricity retailer, please contact your retailer prior to making any arrangements with Hydro Ottawa to ensure your agreement allows for net metering. Confirmation from your retailer is required prior to any net metering installations.
If you are an existing net metering customer and would like to enroll with an electricity retailer, confirmation from a licensed retailer is required in order to remain a net metering customer with Hydro Ottawa.
What is Third Party Net Metering?
Third party net metering allows a customer to participate in net metering while not owning or operating the renewable generation facility that is generating the electricity.
Regulatory amendments that came into effect July 1, 2022, clarify that customers can access third party ownership arrangements like leasing, renting, financing and power purchase agreements for the provision of renewable generation equipment or to purchase renewable electricity for the purposes of net metering.
These changes also introduce consumer protection measures for electricity retailing and other third party net metering ownership arrangements. To assist customers in making an informed decision, the Ontario Energy Board released Consumer-Facing Materials and Retailer Forms related to third party net metering.
If you are interested in participating in Hydro Ottawa’s Net Metering Program we encourage you to engage and contact us at the earliest opportunity to ensure that your premise is eligible for net metering.
What is the delivery charge for the electricity that I generate? Is it fixed or variable?
Hydro Ottawa’s distribution rate, included in the delivery charge, represents only a small portion of your bill. A portion of these charges are fixed and do not change from month to month. The rest are variable and increase or decrease depending on the amount of electricity that you use.
Residential distribution rates are transitioning to a fully fixed charge by January 1, 2020. This is in accordance with the Ontario Energy Board’s (OEB) Residential Rate Change policy.
Can the delivery charge be deducted from the net metering credit? How often is the amount charged?
Net metering credits can only be applied to the portion of the bill subject to a per-kilowatt-hour charge or demand charges (kW) and not the fixed charges. Therefore, the net metering credit can be used against the variable charges within the delivery line but not any fixed charge. Please refer to the provincial legislation under section 8 for more information.
Are there any other charges associated with the net metering program?
Yes. Other charges include an account setup charge (where there is no existing account), a monthly* service charge, and in some circumstances, an administration charge.
*Starting November 1, 2021, the net metering monthly service charge will no longer be applied to net metered bills until further notice. Future adjustments may be required subject to provincial regulations and legislations, program intake, as well as administrative and operational needs.
Other charges that may apply include:
- A Connection Impact Assessment (CIA) will need to be completed for a RET with generation greater than 10 kW. Please refer to Form B and the Fee Schedule.
- A monitoring and control box will be required for a RET with generation with a nameplate capacity greater than 50 kW.
- A Standby Charge may be required for a business with RET with generation greater than 500 KW. Please refer to section 126.96.36.199 of Hydro Ottawa’s Conditions of Service.
Does the generation credit expire?
The accumulated credit must be used within 12 months. Once credits have accumulated for 12 consecutive months, all credits are written off. Any unused credits from a previous month will show on your bill as a line item labelled ‘Generation Credits Carried Forward’. Please refer to section 8 of the legislation for more information.
We will continue to read your meter as we do now.
Net metering customers receive a detailed electricity bill, listing the generation credit earned that is based on the generation you supplied to the electricity grid, as well as the generation credit applied towards your electricity costs in the current billing period.
Other bill line items related to your generation account will also be reflected on your bill.
For a detailed example, please view Hydro Ottawa’s net metering sample bill.
Are there any special requirements that may prevent me from participating in the net metering program?
Yes, there may be circumstances that could limit you from connecting your RET and generating electricity.
- The size of your service entrance;
- The level of available transformer capacity in your area;
- The capacity or performance constraints on the feeder branch between your RET and the distribution station and transmission system that serves your home or business;
- Lack of evidence that the electricity produced is from a RET;
- Non-compliance with the Net Metering Regulation.
- Siting restrictions, which came into force July 1, 2018.
How do I apply to the net metering program?
Simply submit a request online using our service request form to apply to the program.